Gazprom eyes new Shtokman deal this week
The partner deal between Gazprom, Statoil and Total expired on July 1st, but the bumpy drive to develop the troubled Shtokman project continues.
Gazprom and its partners could sign a new agreement this week to develop the Shtokman field in the Barents Sea, company Chief Alexei Miller told reporters following Gazprom’s general shareholder meeting in Moscow.
If so, the new deal will come on overtime. The current agreement between the partners in Shtokman Development AG, Gazprom, Statoil and Total expired on Sunday. The Shtokman Development AG was established in February 2008 and was owned by Gazprom (51%), Total (25%) and Statoil (24%). A new deal was expected to be announced at the St. Petersburg economical forum in June. But no deal was announced.
The expired partnership-deal, together with uncertainties on the cost estimate and future LNG-prices, trigger speculations that the entire Shtokman project is in jeopardy. Sources familiar with the project says to BarentsObserver that it can take years before a new investment plan could be signed. Also, the project’s main pusher is today Kremlin rather than the commercial companies involved.
Alexei Miller, however, continues to keep the door open for a new partner to the Shtokman-team. Miller did not name any company, but it is believed that Shell might be the new entrant. A key question in forming the new Shtokman partnership is how to share the costs.
If developed, the project will be the most expensive offshore natural gas project so far world-wide.